The theme of World Cancer Day this year is “Close the Care Gap”. To make this meaningful we need to do as much as we can to enhance personalised care and support. This is very much at the heart of the Scottish Governments Cancer Strategy “Beating Cancer – Ambition and Action”. Creating a consistency in delivery, equality of access and a standardised approach without stifling innovation should underpin our national and local objectives.
Beatson Cancer Charity supports these principles. We have a clear focus on enhancing the treatment and support people receive through their journey with NHS as best we can with the resources we have at our disposal. From the moment people are diagnosed right through to recovery, or sadly end of life, our aim is to be there for people every step of the way.
We are all different, we all have our own needs and aspirations. The importance of person-centred treatment and support cannot be underestimated to help people get back to living their normal life as quickly as possible. Patient pathways should be tailored around an individual’s needs in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Cancer is an indiscriminate disease, affecting anyone regardless of age, income or location. Thirty thousand Scots are diagnosed with cancer each year however, Scotland still has some of the worst cancer survival rates in Western Europe, sitting below the European average. The reasons for this are complex. The prevalence of certain tumour types is also higher in Scotland. There are few people whose lives have not been touched by the fear, stress and pain that cancer causes.
However, we also have wonderful professionals working in our NHS, people who have world-wide reputation for their work, people who have a commitment and determination to improve standards, care and treatment at every stage.
All successful healthcare initiatives should have a focus on person-centred care based on human rights approach. They should also recognise the enhanced benefits from a collaborative approach (no one individual or agency can do this on their own, so it requires partnerships and collaborations at all levels) and this in turn requires brave and inspirational leadership; Leaders who will support positive change for themselves and their organisations; Leaders who will make things happen and invest resources in those things which we know have the greatest impact. All too often we find it difficult to invest in new effective ways of working because we are too heavily rooted in the status quo, this ultimately creates a barrier to change.
Over the years Beatson Cancer Charity has supported a range of initiatives that add to the margin of excellence provided at The Beatson by supporting projects advancing world-leading research, providing enhanced wellbeing supports or investing in world-class capabilities such as MRI enhanced radiotherapy.
The Charity will continue to do this by supporting a succession of increasingly aspirational initiatives that will have a positive effect on the hospital’s capabilities. We could not do this without the generous support of the many individuals and businesses who support our work year on year.
In short, on World Cancer Day when we reflect on the things that will help “Close the Care Gap” then three themes consistently come to mind… citizenship (having a strong focus on the individual), collaboration (collective effort that achieve more for less) and leadership (stepping up to the plate).
Beatson Cancer Charity would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supports our work.